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Student Loan and Student Grant Schemes

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Approving Authority:

Council
Establishment Date:22 October, 1993
Date Last Amendment:November, 2010
Nature of Amendment:CI 1.4 To report to VP (SFR) rather than Resources Committee and FCCS Board; CI 1.5 Appeals to be handled by the D, ASS rather than the Appeals Committee; CI 2.1.2 Cashier's supervisor replaced with D, FSD or nominees, who may not include cashiers or accounts staff; CI 2.4.1 (a) min loan repayment increased to $25 per fortnight; CI 3.8 detail about the amount of annual allocation and reference to RC approval deleted.
Responsible Officer: Director, Financial Services

POLICY

1.1

The University may provide financial assistance to students whose academic performance is likely to be impaired by financial difficulty by: making short term loans available to enrolled students (Student Loan Scheme); and making grants available to students enrolled in the second or later year of an award of the University to assist recipients to continue their enrolment in their current course (Student Grant Scheme).

1.2

Loans and grants provided via these schemes will not be available to students enrolled in off-shore programs.

1.3

The Student Loan and Student Grant Schemes will be administered by the University and Flinders Campus Community Services (FCCS). The funds available to support these schemes will be managed by the Financial Services Division.

1.4

An annual review of the operation of the Student Loan and Student Grant Schemes will be conducted. The Director, Financial Services Division will ensure that a report relating to this review will be provided to the Vice-President (Strategic Finance and Resources) by no later than 30 June the following year. The report will include the following: information regarding the number and value of loans and grants provided; the proportion of students receiving financial assistance who subsequently ceased to be enrolled; financial data relating to the operation and viability of the fund supporting the schemes; and where relevant, recommendations regarding the future operation of the schemes.

1.5

The Director, Academic and Student Services, or nominee, shall investigate and decide on appeals from students who have been refused loans or grants. His or her decision shall be final.

1.6

Records relating to applications for loans and grants will normally only be available to the applicant, the officers responsible for administering the fund and staff of the Financial Services Division responsible for the financial management of the fund. In the case of bad debts, loan records will also be made available to the University's debt collector. The Director, Academic and Student Services, or nominee shall have access to records relating to appellants.

STUDENT LOAN SCHEME

2.1

Operation of the Loan Scheme

2.1.1    The General Manager of FCCS will nominate officers of FCCS to be responsible for determining applications for loans.

2.1.2    The Director, Financial Services (or nominees) will be responsible for authorising the payment of loan monies to approved applicants and for approving loans in the absence of a nominated FCCS Officer. Nominees may not include staff in Cashiers or Accounts.

2.1.3    The Financial Services Division will be responsible for the financial management of the loan funds and the administration of loans. This includes monitoring expenditure from, and payments to, the loan account, and providing data on a regular basis to the relevant FCCS Officers about amounts loaned, payments recouped, the balance of the loan account and bad debts.

2.1.4    The loan limit will be $500 for any one student. In exceptional circumstances the Director, Academic and Student Services, or nominee, may approve a higher amount. The purposes for which a loan may be provided are set out in Appendix A.

2.2

Eligibility

2.2.1    The Student Loan Scheme shall be administered as a lender of last resort. Applicants will be expected to have tried to obtain loans from other sources.

2.2.2    A student's capacity to repay the debt will be taken into account in considering an application for a loan.

2.2.3    A student with an outstanding loan will not normally be eligible for a subsequent loan.

2.2.4    A student's debt payment history with the University, including previous Student Loan payment history, will be taken into account in considering applications for subsequent loans.

2.3

Applications

2.3.1    Students applying for loans are responsible for providing accurate documentary evidence to substantiate their loan application. Such documentation must include confirmation of the student's current financial situation in the form of statements of income, expenditure and any outstanding loans, and evidence to support the purpose of the particular loan application (eg, receipts, quotations, letters of support from academic staff). In the event that this information is found to be inaccurate, loan approval will be withheld or revoked.

2.3.2    Applications for student loans are to be made on the prescribed application form and lodged in person at an interview with one of the nominated FCCS Officers. Loan applications, with the exception of applications for emergency loans, will normally be processed within 10 working days.

2.3.3    The FCCS Officer will discuss with the student the reasons for the loan, sources of assistance previously approached and repayment proposals. The student's enrolment and previous loan history will be checked at that time.

2.3.4    As a result of the interview the FCCS Officer may decide: (i) to approve the loan; (ii) to not approve the loan; (iii) to ask the student to provide more information.

2.3.5    In the case of approval of a loan, the FCCS Officer will: (i) establish a loan agreement with the student to include provision for the regular payment of an agreed amount; (ii) advise the student of the conditions of the loan; (iii) present a copy of the loan agreement to the Cashiers' Supervisor.

2.3.6    Upon presentation of the loan agreement the Cashier's Supervisor will: (i) arrange for a cheque to be issued payable to the student or his/her creditors for the full amount of the loan; (ii) set up an instalment plan on the Student Information System as per the loan agreement.

2.3.7    In the case of non-approval of a loan, the FCCS Officer will notify the student to this effect, giving reasons in writing why the loan was not approved in accordance with the eligibility criteria and advising the student of his/her appeal rights.

2.4

Repayment of Loans

2.4.1    A student who has been granted a loan shall enter into a written agreement with the University to repay the loan on conditions approved by an officer responsible for administering the fund. These conditions will normally be as follows:

(a)   Minimum loan repayments shall be set at $25 per fortnight or 5% of the loan, whichever is greater.

(b)    Repayments shall be made on a regular basis to the Cashier's Office of the Financial Services Division.

(c) Loans must normally be repaid within 12 months.

(d)   Loans will be interest free.

(e)   If a person ceases to be an enrolled student, his/her loan must be discharged in full prior to leaving the University.

(f)   A student who is unable to meet the agreed payments may seek to renegotiate those payments either by contacting the Cashiers' Supervisor, or by contacting the FCCS Officer.

(g)   A student who does not discharge his or her debt to the University will have this debt recorded on his/her student record in the Student Information System, and will be subject to the provisions of the University's Policy on Students with Outstanding Debts. In addition, the matter may be placed in the hands of a debt collector for recovery.

STUDENT GRANTS SCHEME

3.1

Recipients of grants will be enrolled students in the second or later year of an award of the University.

3.2

Priority will be given to the following: Australian students or students with permanent residency status; undergraduate students; students who have not previously accessed a grant; students facing particular difficulty in continuing their studies in the second half of the year.

3.3

The aim of a grant will be to assist the student to continue their enrolment in their current course.

3.4

The value of the grant will not exceed $500.

3.5

Grants should be available to students who are ineligible for a loan or for whom a loan would be inappropriate.

3.6

Applicants must demonstrate that other sources of assistance have been sought and are unavailable or inappropriate.

3.7

Students applying for grants are responsible for providing accurate documentary evidence to substantiate their application. Such documentation must include confirmation of the student's current financial situation in the form of statements of income, expenditure and any outstanding loans, and evidence to support the purpose of the particular grant application (eg, receipts, quotations, letters of support from academic staff). In the event that this information is found to be inaccurate, grant approval will be withheld or revoked.

3.8

The Vice-Chancellor will determine the annual allocation to the Student Grant Scheme for inclusion in the University budget.

3.9

There will be no requirement to repay the grant.

3.10

FCCS will be responsible for advertising the availability of the grants.

3.11

Allocation of grants will be determined by a small group comprising two FCCS Officers nominated by the FCCS General Manager, and a nominee of the Director, Academic and Student Services.

3.12

A list of the successful applicants will be provided by FCCS to the Cashier's Supervisor.